What if I’m the victim of a hit and run?

You should obtain legal advice immediately in the case of a hit and run accident.

You may have a hit and run claim for damages against ICBC under your own insurance policy or the policy of a member of your household, but you must strictly comply with the conditions of your insurance policy. These conditions were created in an effort to avoid fraudulent hit and run claims.

For filing hit and run claims, you must make “all reasonable efforts” to ascertain the identity of the unknown driver and owner. A judge or jury is ultimately responsible for deciding whether or not you made “all reasonable efforts” if ICBC denies that you did so. Case law has developed as to what this phrase means.

Here are some of the steps you could take to help ensure you meet the requirements:

– Contact the police immediately (this is mandatory);
– Look for debris and skid marks from the vehicles at the accident scene. Measure the skid marks and take photographs that clearly show the location of this evidence. Collect the debris (if the police do not do this) or first ask a lawyer whether you should have an accident reconstruction engineer attend the scene right away;
– Phone ICBC Dial-a-Claim. You can’t report hit and run claims on-line;
– Speak to residents and businesses located near the accident scene. Did anyone see the accident or its aftermath? If so, did they note the colour, model or plate number of the other vehicle? Did they note the names of any witnesses?
– Near the scene, put up large, clearly-written signs seeking witnesses to the accident. Take photographs of the signs. Use the date stamp option on the camera to show when the photographs were taken;
– Put ads in local newspapers seeking witnesses to the accident. Tear out the entire page from the newspaper to prove what dates you ran the ads;
– Follow up with the police officer responsible for investigating the accident a few times by phone to see if he or she has obtained any leads. Remember, the person who hit you and left the scene will likely need to have his vehicle repaired;
– Make detailed notes of every step you take to ascertain the identities of the other driver and owner of the vehicle.